Qualcomm has announced the industry’s first color IMOD displays, which will be used by Freestyle Audio for their latest rugged PMPs. IMOD, which stands for Interferometric Modulation, is currently marketed under Qualcomm’s mirasol brand; previously only bichrome displays using the technology were available, already being used in a number of cellphones. The mirasol displays are similar to OLED, in that they require significantly less power than traditional LCDs, but use ambient light to illuminate the screen rather than a backlight.
Freestyle will be using a 0.9-inch mirasol display in their MP3 player. Intended for outdoors use (or even underwater), the ruggedized PMP has no set availability date. It’ll be one of the first such devices with a color display, though; many rivals have either monochrome screens or no screen at all.
mirasol is likely to find more customers in cellular markets, initially replacing LCD and OLED for the external display on clamshells but, as larger screens become available, ousting internal displays as well. Backlighting the screens on handsets is a major drain on batteries, and as wireless connectivity increases manufacturers will be looking to save power elsewhere. Qualcomm has not suggested when bigger mirasol displays will be available.